Learning Differences

Your child is unique, with their own profile of strengths and needs. You have seen your child excel in some areas yet struggle in other areas. In fact, it is very likely that your child has average to superior intelligence. Yet, they may struggle with reading, writing or math! You are left to wonder, is this a learning disability?

This imbalance affects your child’s academic success and often instills feelings of inadequacy and low self-confidence. This frustration can result in a downhill spiral until your child feels ‘stupid’ or ‘dumb’.

There is hope and help for your child!

At GeerLINKS, we believe that all students can learn, that the brain can change and that by challenging students’ thinking, new neuropathways are forged, and new skills are developed.

Your child needs to have the foundational building blocks in place to perform well academically. Sometimes this foundation can feel like it’s shifting and the wall is crumbling. All it takes is a weakness in one or more of these blocks to leave you and your child feeling hopeless.

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF LEARNING

This model turns an overwhelming and complex process of learning into an organized set of skills. It creates a clear and organized way of understanding the process of learning and all factors that affect a student’s success. 

The four foundational blocks offer the support system for all learning to occur. If your child is struggling with self-regulation, behaviour, emotions and/or resilience, the foundation can feel like it’s shifting and the wall is crumbling.

The four processing blocks are the skills that require our students to perceive and process information through their senses. If your child has weaknesses is phonological, orthographic, memory or motor skills, it will be a challenge for them to process all the information in an efficient and timely manner.

The conceptual abilities help students understand relationships and apply the concepts as they engage in academic tasks. If your child has difficulty paying attention to the visual details or learning new vocabulary, it will be difficult for them to solve mathematical story problems or display flexibility with their thinking in multi-step math problems.

And then, executive function, at the top of this pyramid, directs all other cognitive activities including the ability to plan, organize, monitor, evaluate and reflect. 

A psycho-educational assessment will help you understand your child’s area of weakness. Our therapists at GeerLINKS will use these results to create an individual intervention plan to help your child learn how to understand information (perception), processing information (cognition/thinking), or respond to information (written and verbal expression, visual-motor coordination, memory, etc.)

When your child strengthens these weak areas, the academic pieces fall into place and both you and your child have renewed hope!

WHAT IS A LEARNING DISABILITY?

A learning disability is an area of weakness or inefficiency that significantly hinders your child’s ability to learn, retain and use new material, often in the areas of reading, writing or math. 

Most disabilities fall into the three basic categories: reading disability (dyslexia), writing disability (dysgraphia), and math disability (dyscalculia).

Dyslexia“difficulty with words”

This term refers to the broad category of language deficits that often includes the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words as well as the ability to read and spell words accurately and fluently.

Dysgraphia“difficulty with writing”

This term refers to those who struggle with the motor skills necessary to write thoughts on paper, spelling, and the thinking skills needed for vocabulary retrieval, clarity of thought, grammar, and memory.

Dyscalculia – “difficulty with mathematics”

This term refers to those who struggle with basic number sense and early number concepts as well as have difficulties with math calculations and math reasoning.

A learning disability does not mean a student can’t learn. Rather, it means that they learn differently.

At GeerLINKS, we believe that with intentional intervention, your child can discover their strengths and forge new learning pathways so they can reach their potential and beyond!

IDENTIFYING A LEARNING DISABILITY

“The diagnosis of a learning disability, now referred to as a Specific Learning Disorder… requires consistent difficulties learning and using academic skills (in reading, writing, spelling, and/or math) during school-age years, below what is expected given a child’s age.” — Canadian Psychological Association, 2015

A learning disability is identified through a psycho-educational assessment, administered by a psychologist. These testing results not only help to identify your child’s learning disability. It will also help you, the parent, and us, as educators, understand your child’s learning difference so we can advocate for accommodations in the education system and apply specific intervention programs to help your child overcome their weaknesses.

At GeerLINKS, we believe that by teaching students HOW to learn, through NILD Educational Therapy®, students will gain the skills needed to become independent learners for a lifetime. Rather than accommodate weak systems, we strengthen them. Rather than referring to it as a disability, we call it an ability that is not yet fully developed. Changing the way a student takes in information, processes information, and then communicates that information makes all the difference.

All learners can be empowered to increase their capacity to think, to learn, to reason, to remember!

THE PATH TO SUCCESS

When learning has no boundaries, success has no end!

At GeerLINKS, we are passionate about helping your family get on the path to success. We understand that you want the best for your child! And we are here to help you and your child get on to this path.

The steps here outline the typical path that our parents take to helping their child become a confident and competent learner!

Step 1 – Schedule a Screening Assessment

A screening assessment will help us identify their strengths and weaknesses. We offer a variety or tests that can identify challenges in your child’s development, including academic, auditory and visual processing tests. Please note: This screening does not take the place of a psycho-educational assessment. 

Step 2 – Develop a Plan

Upon review of the assessment and any previous testing, our educational specialist will conduct a parent follow up meeting to discuss the results of your child’s learning profile and recommend the appropriate interventions that best suit your child’s needs.

Step 3 – Enroll in GeerLINKS Educational Therapy

When the path has been estabished and the appropriate intervention chosen, you will be introduced to the educational therapist that will work with your child. 

Step 4 – Embark on a Journey

At GeerLINKS Educational Therapy, we are committed to working with you, the parent, to help your child reach their potential and beyond. We believe that our work is a partnership…we want to work together, with you and your child, to maximize your child’s learning experience. 

Let’s chat! We are ready to partner with you on this journey!